The Stream: The plot sometimes gets in the way of the outsized comedy
The Big Screen: Jamie Dornan sheds Christian Grey and surprises in a silly and fun performance
The Final Bill: A pure, ridiculous and unexpected comedy!– Trip Fontaine
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Writers: Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig
Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan | See full cast & crew »
Runtime: 1 hour 42 minutes
Platform: Released on 12 February 2021 (USA) on VOD
Alright, Streamers, we caved! After weeks of seeing these inscrutable teasers and trailers of a new comedy from the gals that brought us Bridesmaids, we broke down and rented Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. While the promotions for this film hinted at the tone of the comedy, they never gave away really any details of the storyline, even though the title says a lot. It was intriguing enough to get us over the hump of shelling out $19.99 for the rental. Here’s whether it was worth your Tubmans.
Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar tells the story of devoted best friends Barb and Star, who have fallen on hard times despite their generally sunny demeanors. Realizing they’re stuck in a rut and wanting to shake up their lives, they leave their small Midwestern town to go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. Hijinks and plot machinations ensue when they encounter a mysterious and dashing stranger at the resort leading to opportunities of adventure, love and the strengthening bonds of friendship. It really is best to go in cold to this movie – it makes it all the more surprising and funny.
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo star in and co-wrote Barb and Star. Mumolo is Barb, and Wiig is Star. They have such specific characterizations of these middle-aged friends. They finish each other’s sentences, they dress alike, they don’t lie to each other, and despite their personal difficulties, there is still a joy to their lives even in the smallest things. The chemistry between Mumolo and Wiig is so easy that it infuses the whole film with infectious glee. It’s hard not to smile throughout. Jamie Dornan is a surprise here as the mysterious stranger, Edgar. Dornan throws caution to the wind and really finds the vibe of the silly energy that Wiig and Mumolo establish. Dornan really has a great showcase here and I would be surprised if he’s not the main take away from this movie. Also, there are some awesome cameos and music throughout.
My only reservation here is that if you are not into ridiculous comedy or that specific Kristen Wiig-y energy, then you may not vibe with Barb and Star. There have been comparisons of this movie to the Austin Powers franchise or 80’s comedies like Naked Gun. Those are appropriate, but I’d say Barb and Star is more Powers than Gun. Nevertheless, in these troubled times, a mindless comedy that has an off-kilter point-of-view and a big heart may be just what you need.
Ultimately, Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar is worth the trip. The $19.99 price tag may give you pause, but if you split with a couple friends, then it’s like paying for a theater matinee. If you want to give your brain a break and get some big laughs, then this one’s worth a big box of popcorn on a rowdy movie night.